While the MLS season was winding down and Toronto FC were playing out their schedule with nothing to compete for Head Coach Ryan Nelsen spent some time talking about his offseason plans. There was a lot of talk about Designated Player signings and other acquisitions that took up much of the spotlight but there was also talk of sending some of the club's younger players out on loan during the offseason.
At the time it seemed the loan moves would be for talented youngsters who Nelsen felt would benefit from the experience of training in England and being removed from their comfort zone. Nelsen did not offer any hints as to who might go out on loan and if the loans would including playing in games or just be training stints like we saw with Stefan Frei and Luis Silva in recent years.
The first players to spend time in England are already over there as it has been confirmed by a number of sources that two of TFC's top rated young players are currently training with English clubs.
Doneil Henry is coming off a 2013 that saw him make 20 MLS appearances, 2 Voyageurs Cup appearances, and 13 appearances for Canada. With 35 total appearances and over 2,000 minutes played it was by far the busiest season of his young career.
This year saw Henry become a regular starter for TFC for the first time in his career while also becoming a key starter for the Canadian National team. It was a year that started in January with a pair of CMNT friendlies and has not stopped since then.
For Jonathan Osorio 2013 has been just as much of a breakout year. He seemingly came out of nowhere with TFC back in preseason but once he was given his chance he never looked back. He made his Canadian National team debut in May against Costa Rica. It was his first of 8 caps for the national team in 2013.
Along with playing for Canada, Osorio was one of the few pleasant surprises for Toronto FC. He made 28 MLS appearances this season including 18 starts as well as featuring in both Voyageurs Cup matches. His 38 total appearances made for a busy year for a player who was just making his professional debut.
The work is not over though for both young Canadians as they went straight from the most recent Canadian camp to England where they are currently training. Henry is working with Premier League club West Ham United while Osorio is at Championship club Huddersfield Town.
Both players get the chance to work under experienced managers while in England as Henry will have the chance to learn from Big Sam Allardyce and his staff at West Ham while Osorio will be working with Mark Robins at Huddersfield.
As thing stands it looks like both players will just be training with their respective clubs for a short period of time and not actually going on loan and taking part in any matches. Even without being able to play games the pair should benefit from the time training in a competitive environment and getting a taste of how things are done at other clubs.
For Henry this loan will be his first real chance to train outside of the Canadian and Toronto FC systems. Having signed a Home Grown contract with TFC Henry has never really left home to play so this experience should be valuable for him in terms of gaining experience.
Osorio on the other hand spent time developing him game with Nacional in Uruguay. He was a part of their youth system before coming back to Canada and catching on with Toronto FC. He is coming off his first professional season though and at 21-years-old is entering a key stage of his development so any extra experience he can get should be welcome.
There is no word from Toronto FC if they plan to send other players out on training stints or loans this offseason and they have yet to confirm the details for either Henry or Osorio. There have also been reports of Bright Dike training at Celtic which have been confirmed by sources in Scotland but not by TFC.
It will be interesting to see what else happens as the offseason progresses but for now it is good to see that Nelsen is giving the top young players every chance to continue their develop through the offseason.